We’re pleased to announce Mel Harrison, founder of Sitting Low Reaching High, as this year’s ambassador at the Sydney Disability Expo. Mel is the epitome of resilience, working as a motivational speaker, consultant, and disability educator for over two decades. She founded Sitting Low Reaching High seven years ago with the intention of exploring all aspects of life, and showing those living with a disability that they can do the same.
Mel’s work focuses on breaking down barriers for people living with a disability. She challenges preconceptions of labels and uses her personal experiences to show that nothing is impossible, and that everybody can communicate effectively and live the life of their dreams.
You never know someone’s ability until you give them the opportunity to explore it
Mel has worked with thousands of people living across Australia. An astute observer, she quickly noticed how regardless of the disability, everyone has their own, distinct communication style – it just might not look conventional.
‘I just know that everybody has the ability to communicate, and to be present, and to play a part – the reason it often doesn’t happen is because of a lack of understanding.’
If one doesn’t adjust their communication style accordingly, it can impose restrictions on a person living with a disability. Ability, Mel says, is ultimately all about communication, and having the attitude of doing exactly what they want to do.
“People, especially people living with a disability, often say ‘they don’t know how to’ or ‘they can’t’ – but how did anybody learn how to do anything? By doing it. If you don’t do it, you won’t know how to do it. Instead, you try again. You don’t need to give up,” says Mel.
The Sydney Disability Expo as a beacon for ability exploration
Being a regular contributor at our Disability Expos in the past, Mel is well versed with how the events run, and what their function is within the disability community.
“These expos have more emphasis on the disability, and people with a disability are giving the opportunity to find out what services and supports are actually out there. It gives the person living with a disability more of a choice.”
The best way to engage with service providers, Mel discusses, is by face-to-face conversations. A participant can gauge in the first two minutes of a conversation whether or not a service provider is the right fit for them.
This, combined with regular performance from people living with a disability, is part of what Mel loves about our expo events.
“It empowers a lot of kids and young adults, giving them the confidence to get up and know they can do the same.”
Fostering connection at the Sydney Disability Expo
Overall, My Future, My Choice functions as the perfect opportunity for the disability community to connect and understand how different service providers can offer different supports.
The expo acts as a social event, with an accepting atmosphere for all, Mel says.
“People living with a disability can feel accepted and included, almost like they’re a part of something. Going to another expo, they won’t find that. Everybody wants to chat.”
The Sydney Disability Expo acts as a beacon of hope for people living with a disability, their family members, and the wider disability community. Over 150 exhibitors will be present, showcasing assistive equipment, support services, long term care options, and more.
Catch Mel at our Sydney Disability Expo, taking place on Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th of August 2023. We work to link service and product providers with the wider disability community, allowing you to control your future and make it your choice.